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Keep It Simple: Try out TypePad's design tips on a test blog.

Are you interested in trying out a new design for your blog? Do the weekend project posts intrigue you? Perhaps you've thought about tackling a design project but are worried that tinkering with the look of your live blog will cause things to look funky. Well, if you're a TypePad Pro level blogger, your worrying days are over. All TypePad Pro plans allow you to create multiple blogs, so you can create a test blog specifically for developing your design. Let's get started!

Create a New Blog

Open the Blogs menu and select Add A Blog. You'll be prompted to enter a blog name and folder name. Choose a blog name which makes it easy to identify the blog as your test blog. Since we're creating a test blog for designing only, uncheck the Publicize this blog box, and click Create Blog.

You also have the option to password protect your blog. While unchecking the publicize option will keep search engines from crawling your blog, the site will still be visible if accessed directly at the blog address. Adding password protect at Settings > Basics will add a password prompt to you site further limiting who can view the site while you are designing it. See the article on setting up password protection.

Start a New Design

On the test blog, you have the option to start a new design from scratch or start with a copy of an existing design.

To create a new design, go to the Design tab for your blog and click the Create a theme button. Choose one of the left menu options to reveal the different pre-made and advanced design options. Under Customizable, you will find the Theme Builder and Advanced Templates custom design tools. After selecting a theme, click Choose to start working on the design.

Check the box to Apply the design to your blog and click Save Changes.

To start with an existing design, you'll first need to create a copy of the design. Go to the Design tab and scroll down to the list of designs in your account. Next to the existing design, open the Actions menu and select Duplicate.

The list of designs will refresh with the new design added as a "Copy of..." the original design. Open the Actions menu next to the copy and select Apply to begin using the design for your test. You may also want to Rename the design to distinguish it from others.

Now, you can edit the design to style the Navigation Bar with CSS, add a rotating banner, display recent photos in sidebar, or try out any other tips in the Knowledge Base and at Everything TypePad.

While you are working on the design, click the View Blog link anytime to see how your blog appears in a browser.

Apply New Design

Once you have completed your design on the test blog, you can apply your new design to your existing blog in a few clicks.

Go to the Blogs menu and select the blog to which you want to apply your new design. Click to the Design tab and scroll down to the list of designs. Next to the new design, open the Actions menu and click Apply. That's it! The new design is applied to your main blog. Click View Blog to see your new design applied to your blog.

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